I was getting used to this first-team business at Celtic and what it brought with it. For one thing, at the Dental Hospital, while most of my colleagues were decidedly unimpressed with my new status in football, the patients waiting to be treated would nudge each other and point when I walked past. Unfortunately, the young ladies seemed less interested than the male football fans!
For most of you reading this, the next few words are going to seem like a journey into the dim and distant past. However, every word is true and the circumstances made life very difficult for the players.
Back in those days of the mid-1960s, whenever a team like Celtic played a side from a distant part of Europe – like Dynamo Kiev – or from a country difficult to travel to – a criterion which could also apply to the Ukrainians – they knew little about them. Their matches, or even highlights of them, were never shown on TV, so somebody from the coaching staff would normally travel over at some point, see them play, then give us all a report on their strengths and possible weaknesses. Unfortunately, this was not possible in the case of Dynamo Kiev, partly because of problems getting visas for entry but mainly due to the fact that Kiev was in the middle of a winter shut-down due to the weather and the team had not played since 17th November.
It meant that I would not know the name of the left-winger, my immediate opponent, until roughly an hour before the kick-off, when the names of the teams would be exchanged.
This was the first year that the Soviet authorities had entered teams into European competitions and there was great interest throughout the football world about how they would do.
It was felt that Celtic would be put to the test against such a side, although possibly the visitors lack of European experience might count against them.
Rather surprisingly, Dynamo made an arrival on Monday evening, coming into Turnhouse Airport, Edinburgh and then transferring to Glasgow. They then shocked Celtic by turning up at Parkhead early on the day of the match for a look at the stadium and a work-out on the pitch.
Press Coverage…..about Me!
I noticed from the papers that ‘Jim Craig is now training with the first-team despite still being a student at Glasgow University’. Well, to be perfectly honest, was he blazes! Having been given permission by the Dean to take some time off if – and when – we travelled to the away leg, wherever it was going to be played, I could not afford to miss any other classes, so I had to report for training with the other part-timers the day before the match.
What I found interesting, though – in fact, it gave me quite a boost – was that the Boss came along to watch the session and made a point of having a word with me afterwards about the forthcoming match and what he wanted me to do in it.
Press Coverage…..about the Team
‘Celtic are looking forward to their biggest-ever crowd from European competition when they meet Russian cracks Dynamo Kiev at Parkhead tomorrow night. By yesterday the few remaining 30 shilling stand seats had been snapped up and there are now only a few enclosure tickets left.
Given a good night tomorrow, the match could be a sell-out. This is quite astounding, really, because Dynamo Kiev are virtually unknown here.
All that can be said about them in this competition so far is that they have beaten the Irish club Coleraine and the Norwegian side Trondheim in the early rounds. And neither of these teams can be labeled as world class’
This was my 3rd European tie and for the 2nd time in my life (the first was the recent Rangers match, also an all-ticket affair) I has the problem of providing tickets for folk. My Dad always came along to evening matches (he worked on Saturdays), my Uncle Patrick followed my matches all over the place and for a tie like this, uncles Philip, Tommy, Pat and George would also have wanted to be there. So, by the time I had covered the family, it did not leave much for friends.
Last time, I asked who was the manager of the struggling Third Lanark side at this point in January 1966?
Well, the answer was Francis Joyner.
The question this week is about that Coleraine side mentioned above. Their manager that season was an ex-Celt; who was he?
Ex-King Leopold of Belgium suffered chest injuries in a car accident yesterday requiring 3 or 4 days complete rest. The accident happened at a Cannes cross-roads when his Ferrari, driven by his wife Princess de Rethy, hit another car.
Shocks For Pop Fans
Firstly, the ‘pirate’ ship Radio London broke its moorings in a gale and was off-air for 7 hours. And secondly, the Beatle Ringo Starr appeared at London Airport in a full beard.
New 4 pence stamps for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man will go on sale on 7th February.
John Graham, a 24-year-old Scots air ambulance attendant, became a flying midwife yesterday when he delivered an Arab baby boy in an RAF Twin Pioneer aircraft over Aden. Mother and son were reported to be doing well.